Puig Aubert bigraphy, stories - French rugby league player

Puig Aubert : biography

24 March 1925 - 03 June 1994

Robert Aubert Puig aka Puig Aubert (24 March 1925 in Andernach, Germany – 3 June 1994 in Carcassonne, France), was debatably the greatest French rugby league footballer of all-timehttp://www.playtheball.com/rlwc00/greatest/aubert.asp Over a sixteen-year professional career he would play for Carcassonne, XIII Catalan, Celtic de Paris and Castelnaudary winning five French championships and four French cups along with representing the French national side on a total of forty-six occasions. His position of choice was at fullback and after his retirement in 1960 he would go on to coach Carcassonne and France along with becoming head French national selector for several years.

Aubert was actually born Robert Aubert Puig, but when he signed as a teenager for Carcassonne, there were several other established players that shared the same surname that a local newspaper editor printed his name back-to-front to avoid confusion and it ending up sticking and he became the most famous of them all.

His nickname "Pipette" was a reference to his smoking habits, which at several stages saw him smoking on the field. Quite famously in a game against Wigan (which was played in a snowstorm), he actually caught the ball with one hand whilst holding a cigarette in the other hand. While he often had unusual habits for a sportsman, there was no denying his talent, he was a master at kicking in play and in overall attack he was both unorthodox and unpredictable. Aside from his playing skill, he developed a reputation based on his somewhat eccentric attitude or charismatic manner. He was known to not tackle a player if he believed it would demonstrate the fault of his team-mates for not previously making the tackle, a cause of some controversy during his career.

The pinnacle of Aubert's career was on the 1951 tour of Australasia, when he played in twenty-five of France's twenty-nine matches, and scored a record 221 points. Puig-Aubert's performances in 1951 earned him his country's Champion of Champions title – the first time a footballer from any code had been so honoured.

In 1988 he was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.

RC Castelnaudary

In 1959 Aubert signed for lower division side Castelnaudary but with his weight and fitness problems continuing to decline he was only limited to several appearances for the season before he altogether retired from competitive rugby league football at the age of thirty-five with the completion of the season.

Celtic de Paris

With his footballing career beginning to wind down Aubert moved to the French capital and took up a position with lower division Celtic de Paris. Though his lack of enthusiasm for training began to have negative effects on his rugby league ability and his weight ballooned to over 100 kilograms at one stage, which was around forty kilograms more than he weighed at the peak of his ability in the 1950s.

After a year spent in the capital with the Paris club Aubert longing to move back to the south of France decided not to renew another contract in the capital and left the club.

Career playing statistics

Point scoring summary

Games Tries Goals F/G Points
46 * * 361

Matches played

Team Matches Years
France 46 1946–1956

Life After Rugby League

After his retirement from the game professionally at the end of the 1960 season Aubert worked simultaneously as a commercial employee for the Paul Ricard company while also ironically acting as a trainer for AS Carcassonne working with the junior level teams. In 1969 Aubert was selected to lead the French national team selection committee a position he held for the next decade.

As the years passed Auberts habit of chain smoking would eventually catch up with him and in the late 1980s he was diagnosed with cancer in his lungs. Puig would later die of a heart attack in his home town of Carcassonne on 3 June 1994.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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